Germanna Visitor Center, Library and Memorial Garden
The Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center, Library and Memorial Garden constitute one of the jewels of Germanna. The Germanna Visitor Center is located on Virginia Route #3 (2062 Germanna Highway, Locust Grove, Virginia 22508, between Fredericksburg and Culpeper) adjacent to the Germanna Community College's main campus which is built on land donated by the Germanna Foundation to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the purpose of building the college. The Visitor Center building was dedicated in July 2000 and is open to visitors from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. We do recommend that out-of-town visitors call to confirm that the center will be open at the time of your visit and to make special arrangements for groups.
As leaves on the trees so is the life of man. -- Homer
Ancestral glory is, as it were, a lamp to posterity. -- Sallust
We invite you to come visit us and enjoy the beautiful scenery and unique architecture found in this area of Virginia so rich in history. This land speaks of a great triumph of the human spirit and the rich legacy of colonial Virginia.
The grounds of the center are located close to the site of the original Germanna Fort which Governor Alexander Spotswood caused to be built near the Rapidan River to house the first German immigrants that came to Virginia in 1714. The Germanna Fort may not be the most famous pentagon in Virginia but it was the first!
The location of Alexander Spotswood's home known as the Enchanted Castle , which saw many colonial Virginians pass through it, is an active archaeology site nearby.
The library at the Visitor Center is the home of some hard-to-find texts and some interesting genealogical material.
Displays at the center include an antique bronze sculpture of a German Iron Assayist from Siegen, Germany. This area has a centuries-old history of iron mining, smelting, and working. This regional history was so strong that Alexander Spotswood saw the Germans as a labor force for the mining of silver ore deposits he hoped to develop in the Germanna area.
Though he was not involved in the decision of the Germans to emigrate to Virginia, he readily settled them at Fort Germanna which was built for their protection in an area beyond the extent of European civilization in colonial Virginia. Four years after settling the Germans at Germanna he had them search for and develop iron mines.
For a more detailed account go to HISTORY OF GERMANNA
The interior of the center boasts a beautiful spiral staircase.
The Germanna Visitor Center and Library proudly sits on historic ground near where the original German immigrants lived and worked. Other historic sites are within easy driving distance of the Visitor's Center and Library. Civil War enthusiasts can find many nearby sites to visit, including Cedar Mountain, The Wilderness, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg to name a few. The local communities of Culpeper and Fredericksburg offer any visitor a wealth of fun places to see and visit.
Germanna is currently compiling data on the Revolutionary War contributions of Germanna descendants and many participated as part of the Culpeper Minutemen. We are also compiling data on the Civil War contributions of the Germanna descendants. As this data is collected and organized, it will be available for researchers in the Germanna Library. We invite your contributions to this effort.
The Visitor Center is named in honor of R. Brawdus Martin 1879-1977 who initiated the first meetings of what is now the Germanna Foundation. The library is named in honor of Brawdus' wife, Evelyn Martin, as a memorial from their daughter, Mary, and her husband, William Bourland.
1973 photo of R. Brawdus Martin and his wife Evelyn
The architect of the Visitor Center, Doug Harnsberger, is a Germanna descendant, and he chose the pentagonal shape of the building to call to mind the pentagonal shape of the original Fort Germanna. The handsome copper ship weather vane on top was a gift from the architect.
The construction of the center came about as a result of the hard work of many Germanna members and grants from the Commonwealth of Virginia, federal ISTEA grants and private donations. Enjoy these photos from the construction days.
Explore our website to learn more of the history of Germanna and how you might participate in this exciting historical non-profit organization.